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The Principal of Responsible Government

Saskatchewan Curriculum Objectives

Grade 12 Objectives (History 30)
Unit 1: Relationships: People and Paradigms

Foundational Objective 3
Know that within every society, there will exist a contest among groups to gain influence over the societal decision-making processes.

Core Concepts: Decision Making

  • Know that the colonizing powers were determined to institute their decision-making paradigm on their colonies in North America.

  • Know that colonial decision making was the prerogative of the governing European power rather than either the residents of the colonies or the First Nations.

Core Concepts: Sovereignty

  • Know that sovereignty asserts that a nation-state is the supreme decision-making power within a delineated territory, and is subject to external authority only through its consent.

Core Concepts: Responsible Government

  • Know that the process leading to the implementation of responsible government involved an active debate among competing ideological paradigms, each defining the relationship between the individual and the societal decision-making processes and institutions.

  • Know that responsible government permits those who govern to administer laws on the basis of the authority they obtain from the elected representatives of the general population.

Core Concepts: Representative Government

  • Know that representative government is practised when the public elects persons to act on its behalf in deliberations surrounding political decision making.

  • Know that those elected representatives are periodically accountable to the public.

Core Concepts: Loyalists

  • Know that half of the Loyalists migrated north to British North America and significantly influenced the political evolution of British North America.

  • Know that the Loyalists expected to retain their existing political rights, including representative government, upon their migration to British North America.

Core Concepts: Oligarchy

  • Know that an oligarchy is a political structure in which societal decision making is controlled by a small group of individuals.

  • Know that political and economic elites held significant control over the decision-making processes in both Upper Canada and Lower Canada, and were reluctant to entertain meaningful political change.

  • Know that members and supporters of the economic and political elites in early nineteenth century British North America were often referred to as "Tories."

Core Concepts: Reformers

  • Know that between 1820 and 1850, reform movements emerged in all the British North American colonies, and competed for influence over the political decision-making processes and institutions.

  • Know that Canadian reformers believed that society needed a government that represented the interests of the general population, not a wealthy elite.

  • Know that reformers believed that government should be held accountable to the general populace by means of an elected assembly and periodic elections.

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